Sunday, 5 December 2010

Flexible, Malleable, Accommodating

‘Bend Me, Shape Me’ was written by Scott English and Larry Weiss and was first released in 1966 as a track on an album by Chicago garage rockers The Outsiders. Shortly afterwards, a bizarre girl group / musique concrete hybrid version appeared on single, credited to The Models and produced like mad by Tom Wilson for MGM records.

Not a massive amount is known about The Models, but it is believed they were, well, models, dragged into the studios to record a single, which might explain the occasionally wayward vocals. Wilson, of course, would later go on to produce The Velvet Underground’s first two LP's, and it’s tempting to draw a direct line between the superbly discordant sonic experimentation here and on those seminal albums, but I won’t, I’ll just leave it hanging in the air for you.

The single was not a hit, leaving the field clear for The American Breed (in the US) and The Amen Corner (in the UK) to have big hits with it in early 1968.

The film hijacked into accompanying the track is by Bruce Conner and was originally called ‘Breakaway’. The acrobatic young star is Antonia Basilotta, who would later change her name to Toni Basil and get on everyone’s tits with the mega hit ‘Mickey’ in the early eighties. Antonia is occasionally topless / nude in this short film, so please don’t watch if you are under the age of 18 or just don’t like to watch nude people enjoying themselves to music.

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